Takoma Park Library has been serving the DC community since first opening in 1911. This significant building was a Carnegie-funded facility, set in a nationally registered historic district. In recent years, it became the goal of the DC Public Library (DCPL) system to restore and renovate many of its libraries, such that they can continue to meet the scholastic and cultural demands of the District’s residents.
Opportunity As a part of a design/build team, M+J was asked to provide interior and exterior renovations for this historic structure. M+J, the DCPL, and supporting neighborhood groups worked together to create a comprehensive vision for the site, complete with initial design parameters.
Creation M+J worked with the contractor to correct past renovation mistakes at the library as well as to propose and execute sensitive interventions, unearthing the character of the original library while transforming it into a contemporary academic center. These efforts included fabricating new chairs and tables resembling the originals and seamlessly integrating educational technology into the furniture and building. A skylight was opened up and restored, plaster and wood detailing rehab and recreated, and a new information/processing desk, modeled after a long lost one, was constructed. The rear rooms were restored and outfitted as an office and a children’s room. New light fixtures, cork flooring, and a finish palette were designed based on both modern academic technology and historic amenities. Perhaps the items of greatest impact include the demolition of the mid-century vestibule for the creation of a new stone structure resembling the original design while addressing current building and assembly codes, and the reinvigorated landscaping returning the grounds to their original layout and splendor.
The exterior design effort required a working relationship with the Historic Preservation Office in order to develop the most appropriate restoration scheme. The results exhibit both design and construction excellence and sensitivity to the neighborhood, the historic resource, the scholastic identity of the building, and the public space around the library.